Pet rats = dealbreaker. Hands down.
We were sitting across from each other having a Sunday mid-afternoon lunch in a casual Vietnamese restaurant on our second date.
Somehow the topic was burying pets (apologies to the people who bought my parents’ house - you may come across skeletons in your garden). Kind of a strange topic, but I don’t date normally it seems, so this was fine.
Until he said, “Yeah, I buried pet rats in the small green space in front of my house.”
Me: “Your current house?”
Me: “Rats plural? You had multiple pet rats? Do you have rats now?”
Him: “I don’t have any now. They have such short life spans; it’s hard to get so emotionally attached for such a short time.”
Mind you, rats live 2 to 3 years. Years.
He told me about the beautiful variety of rats - one of his was silver with a white belly, the other was a “hooded rat” - white with a black head (so creepy!)
He also explained that cages are too small for them, but leaving them to roam around the house is problematic.
Me: “Because they poop.”
Him: "Because they chew things."
Apparently they also have such endearing qualities as the ability to learn and respond to their names.
And they have little animated hands.
But what do they carry besides the plague?!?
Yes, it was a rather handy (pun intended) way to wipe out the indigenous population of North America and large swaths of people in Europe at varying points in history.
"But the eyes!" I protested. "The beady, bulging eyes!"
He admitted that the side profile was not so attractive.
And speaking of bulging, my cousin had rats when I was growing up. One of them had massively enormous (sorry, gross) balls - balls that constantly dragged on the ground.
This is how I picture rats.
Not unlike this:
Oh, and let’s not forget the scene in 1984 in which Winston is taken to Room 101 wherein lies the “worst thing in the world”. For Winston it’s rats.
For Winston, they attach to his face a cage/mask full of hungry rats.
After reading that I think it became the worst thing in the world to me.
I brought up the rat mask passionately horrified and he grinned and chuckled.
At that moment I could picture large rats crawling around on his shoulders and over his head and affectionately stroking his ears with their animated paws.
I looked down.
I looked back up and the rats were still there in my mind.
I couldn’t not see rats on his shoulders when I looked at him.
Not him (obviously) but like this, except creepier.
I called a couple days later to say that it was nice to meet him, but it wasn’t going to work out. (FYI, this was not the only way in which we didn’t connect.)
A few people have said that the only thing worse than rats would be snakes.
For me it’s a toss up.
Snakes don’t have bulging, dragging balls.